War Studies Seminar Series

Event details

SDSC War Studies Seminar Series

Date & time

Monday 19 July 2021


Hedley Bull Lecture Theatre 1


James Brien


Bell School Marketing Team

“Bricks Without Straw”: The Allies and the Beachhead Operations, November 1942-January 1943

The Australian and American operations to secure the Japanese beachheads in Papua were arguably some of the most difficult of the Second World War in the Pacific. They have become notorious for the ignorance of senior commanders to the challenges faced by forward troops, the grinding brutality of the combat, and heavy casualties.

This presentation looks beyond this established narrative. Contrary to the notion that the Allies stubbornly committed to the same clumsy methods and practices, it demonstrates that there was a concerted effort to learn and adapt. Although not always successful, it was this effort that enabled Allied victory.

James Brien is a PhD scholar from the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at The Australian National University. His research interests are centred on the history of warfare in the 20th Century and military learning and adaptation. His research on the beachhead operations grew out of an Australian War Memorial Summer Vacation Scholarship project and has been supported by an Australian Army History Research grant. James has a background in education and in various teaching and academic support roles at ANU.

Photo: Australian War Memorial.

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